By Geoff Jackson on 4 October 2011 @ 11:14 AM.
Our new website has been launched two weeks now which saw a multitude of changes to code, systems, design... Infact, everything.
Our previous website used Wordpress and we opted to use the Disqus comment engine/system, whilst this was initially a great attribute to our company blog, over the past year, we became more and more frustrated with the limitations and bugs with the system. My biggest gripe with Disqus though, was the inability to follow links in the URL, what this means is that the nofollow attribute was automatically placed on all URL's from blog commenters - You may well be thinking that this is acceptable and you infact do the same on your blog? Well I disagree, I feel the whole nofollow/dofollow saga has ruined the web, it has been abused and is constantly used to manipulate search engines, sculpt PageRank and now 99% of website owners don't want to offer a dofollow link unless they get paid for it, the whole situation has gone barmy!
As a website/blog owner, surely it should be my choice to decide whether I dofollow/nofollow comment links Disqus? After raising this issue with their technical team over a year ago now, still to this day, there is no option to change this and I feel this a serious flaw in their service. I want to maintain a blog and write fresh content to benefit our readers, to share our knowledge, to help businesses understand digital marketing and SEO - If someone comments on our blog with spam or a link to unauthoritative website, I won't approve the comment, it's quite simple. If someone comments on our blog with the sole purpose of gaining a backlinks, then guess what? Providing they are contributing value to the subject of the article, I don't really care. Shouldn't that be what running a blog should all be about, interaction, thought sharing, debates, conversation, sharing information... Engaging with your audience? I feel a crucial element of blogging has been lost somewhere along the lines with most places online, which is a shame.
So, that was my biggest problem with Disqus and even after raising the issue, it wasn't addressed (and surely I wasn't the only user of their comment system to request this feature). One of the other issues, critical for SEO, was the speed. They had tried to include so many features and integrations which was providing so much on-page 'bloat' that the comment system plugin would always take an additional two minutes to load than the rest of the page. One of the biggest attractions of using them originally was it's visual appearance, it looked neat, clean and allowed other Disqus users to like comments, posts and reply with Facebook, Twitter or using their OpenID. Unfortunately, the more they added, the more updates released, the more things broke and the slower it got however. But saying that, if you want a fully fledged comment plugin for your blog, Disqus probably does have the most offerings out there.
It's probably worth noting that the 'Reactions' count never seemed to work after three months or so of using the plugin, which is a real shame as despite the shares across various social media platforms, all pages of our blog that showed exerpts, displayed '0 reactions, 0 comments' which doesn't make your content appeal that much to new visitors. After raising support tickets about this too, the problem never was resolved - Instead have developed our own comment system and are in the process of integrating our own 'Reactions' count for the blog.
I've only touched the surface of Disqus's offerings as there are a lot more features and even developer and styling options behind the scenes, Dmitry Fadeyev over at his website, talked in much more depth about the problem with Disqus last year which you may also like to read.
How have you found the Disqus comment system? And do you feel all blogs should be made to dofollow comment links? Let us know in the comments, this makes for a great debate!UPDATE - 11/01/2012